It's so refreshing to find a book that doesn't fit into a standard genre. Vampires and 'Fifty Shades of Gray' are a bit...tired. But I've found an unusual romantic novel that challenged me. One that made me glad that great writing is still alive and well.
'Courting Greta', the wonderful novel by Ramsey Hootman, is the story of Samuel Cooke, a crippled computer genius who has decided to change his life by leaving his high-paying job to teach computer programming to high school students. Prickly, sarcastic, and unwilling to let love enter his life, Samuel meets Greta Cassamajor, the high school gym coach, and just to prove he has the courage to do it, asks her out on a date.
But Greta is more than his match. She is tough, she is strong and no-nonsense, and no one dares mock her. Yet, surprisingly, she accepts Samuel's offer. And that's where it all begins.
'Courting Greta' is a quiet story, yet it has hard edges. It has secrets; while Greta is the one who challenges Samuel to confess, it her own confession that startled me and gave me more than a glimpse beneath the hard exterior of such an interesting woman.
Although the story didn't grab me right at the beginning, I soon found myself becoming very involved and read it every chance I could I get.
And when I found out why Greta called Samuel 'Mr. Cooke' (*spoiler*: it will melt your heart), I prayed that Ms. Hootman would grace us with another equally-wonderful novel.
Of that, I have no doubt.
As long as it doesn't contain vampires or sadomasochism.
'Courting Greta', by Ramsey Hootman, will be released on June 18, 2013, by Gallery Books, a division of Simon & Schuster